Magic pudding coming up?

Gillard yesterday made her first spending promise:

In her first major speech of the campaign for the August 21 election, Ms Gillard yesterday promised to reallocate $200m from existing housing programs to give 15 regional communities grants to improve local housing and infrastructure, enabling them to attract residents to fill jobs.

Note that the funds will be reallocated, there will be no new funds for this one. Or any other election promise that involves spending, according to Gillard.

Abbott has to do better than that, because he is promising to bring the budget back into the black earlier than Labor and pay off the debt, because he and his advisors know better than the body of expert opinion that says there is still a need for stimulus and that there is a significant risk of a double dip in the world recession.

So his big pitch on Sunday was that they had found $47 billion worth of savings in the budget.

He should explain exactly where these savings are coming from, but meanwhile voters could be forgiven for believing Gillard that to elect Abbott will see the BER, the National Broadband Network and a number of other Labor initiatives down the crapper. That includes some valuable initiatives in health.

But the net effect is that Abbott will be able to offer a series of handouts during the election, strategically placed to maximise swinging votes in the best Howard-Costello tradition.

For example, the Toowoomba bypass tunnel and road he announced on Friday.

There are two things to note about this announcement. The first is that according to a study commissioned be the Howard Government completed in May 2009, the project is a dud:

The much-anticipated Toowoomba Bypass appears to have been rejected with the Rudd Government citing a study which finds the $1.75 billion project cost as “commercially unattractive”.

In a media statement issued on Friday, Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said a report commissioned by the former Howard Government had found “the project’s direct economic costs outweigh its direct economic benefits – resulting in a negative economic value”.

The second thing is that under Labor, the Government as such does not make the decision, it is made by Infrastructure Australia, a body Labor set up to get away from the iniquitous pork-barrelling of the Howard years:

The report has been sent to Infrastructure Australia to determine whether or not the project should be included on its National Priority List.

So elect Abbott and welcome to the past. We will indeed be ‘moving backwards’.

It is possible that with the Coal Seam Gas industry exploding all over the Toowoomba hinterland, the need for the road may increase and the economic argument become more favourable. But it should be a deliberative rational decision, not the gift of politicians seeking votes.

Posted in elections, politics
12 comments on “Magic pudding coming up?
  1. jane says:

    Smuggles reckons he’s going to cut $47bn from somewhere or other. So I don’t know how he thinks he’s going to fund even a packet of Juicy Fruit, if things are as dire as he makes out.

    He is an out-and-out liar. And that’s a compliment.

  2. bahnischba says:

    Actually, jane, he says he’s found $47 billion worth of savings. That’s probably multi-year – four years?

    I think he’s going to reallocate some of those ‘savings’ on election promise goodies and still have a deficit less than Labor’s.

    They are going to try to sound responsible and sensible while they do it, but you’d need to keep counting your fingers.


  3. paul walter says:

    Make no mistake- Abbott is hard Thatcherist tory, we’ll get a relpay of the early horror budgets of the Howard era. The instructive example is about resides in the UK, where the reactionary Cameron and the idiot Clegg are screwing the public for the City of London’s corporate sins.
    Labor attempts to accomodate conflicting interests, but Abbott will be uncompromising and unabashed in rejecting compromise; an authoritarian thru and thru.
    The difference between Labort an d the coalition is that coalition valorises reaction, whereas Labor altho reluctantly prepared to operate in the cesspit in which it proliferates, at least does not try to glorify the shitty aspects of the system in the way the rightie zealots do.

  4. Thomas Paine says:

    Abbott is going to back himself into so many corners that the only way out will be to remove him and start again. And I think with the latest poll, 55/45 if it is indicative of their current position, will see Turnbull replace him. Otherwise they have no way forward and grind to a halt.

  5. Mindy says:

    I think you are right Thomas. If they are ever going to rid themselves of the stink of WorkChoices they have to bring Malcolm back.

  6. jane says:

    So stab Smuggles in the back to restore Turnbull who is still having transfusions after Smuggles delivered what he thought was the coup de grace? Yeah, that’ll work. Can’t wait, actually.

    Turnbull will still be the same abrasive, political and tactical idiot they dispatched months ago, who took his bat and ball and went off to sulk. Utegate and Grechmail, anyone?

    Actually, jane, he says he’s found $47 billion worth of savings.

    bahnischba, was he reading from a prepared script when he said it? All sound and fury, signifying nothing, if not. With apologies to the bard.

    BTW, anyone seen anything of Jokin’ Joe and Barnaby, lately? I thought they’d be bellowing the Smuggles’ message from the nearest street corners.

  7. adrian says:

    “Turnbull will still be the same abrasive, political and tactical idiot they dispatched months ago, who took his bat and ball and went off to sulk.”

    I’m no Turnbull fan, but I think that’s very unfair. What exactly was he supposed to do that would meet with your approval?

  8. Peter Kemp says:

    So his big pitch on Sunday was that they had found $47 billion worth of savings in the budget.

    A pound of fat, an old man rat,
    A pint of Worknochoice-O kerosene-O!
    A box of miner’s fax tacks, some cobbler’s facts wax,
    Some lycra bum gum and Papalist-O glycerine-O!

    That Norman Lindsay was prophetic I tell you, as Abbott mixes his “magic pudden” potion inclusive of the “old man rat” overtures on boat people, (not that the APL of late is that much better in that quarter.)

  9. John D says:

    Abbot was believable when he promised a great big new tax on big business to pay for his maternity leave promise but nobody really believes $47b in savings unless it is actually spelled out so the people who will be losing their jobs will know who to vote for.

  10. jane says:

    His performance as Libtard leader did it for me, adrian. Utegate, Grechmail, debt truck, hanging his fellow idiots out to dry over utegate and Grechmail, his big-noting and complete lack of political nous, for starters.

    Grechmail happened a mere 6 months after Martin Hamilton-Smith shot himself in the foot with fake papers which allegedly caught the Rann government in a corruption scandal.

    Given that own goal, you’d think Mal would have done a bit more research and listened to wiser heads before shooting his mouth off.

    Getting knifed by that slug Smuggles doesn’t make him a statesman or imbue him with any mystique. He was a w@nker then and he still is, I’m afraid.

  11. Nickws says:

    I wonder if the Baronet would have gone anywhere near a budget plan that could so easily have its eyes plcked out.

    Good thing they did execute him, the last thing we need at this election is an Oppo leader with the capacity to make us believe he’s actually only saying the things the Tanners and the Emersons desperately want caucus to address. Sure, Turnbull mightn’t have been able to play it like that, but now we no longer face that 10% risk.

    None of this rhetoric actually does anything to lay the groundwork for avoiding GFC 2020 or 2025, of course.

  12. jane says:

    Nickws, the baronet is damaged goods, who is also an enthusiastic fan of the “let ’em eat cake” school of fiscal reaction to the GFC. A big fat F, from me.

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